Get a taste of the next big thing at the Food Matters Live exhibition and conference at London ExCeL on 21-23 November. Lisa Jenkins offers a preview of the innovative food and drink that will be on offer
What will the younger generation demand from food outlets in the future, and how can the industry respond to the increasing interest in health and wellbeing?
Food innovators, business leaders, manufacturers, retailers, government ministers, scientists and experts in health and nutrition will be among 400 influential speakers leading a series of thought-provoking debates during the CPD-accredited education programme.
BBC journalists Anita Anand, Simon Jack and Timandra Harkness will host the conference. Issues for discussion include how health-conscious yet time-poor consumers are driving growth in the food-to-go sector, and what more can be done to reduce calorie, salt and sugar intake to protect against obesity.
Chef Heston Blumenthal will question why food science, practical cookery and understanding nutrition are not at the core of education, while former Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King and neuroscientist Susan Greenfield will share their invaluable experience.
Prue Leith, vice-president of the Sustainable Restaurant Association and the new face of The Great British Bake Off, will join Greggs' Hannah Squirrell in a panel discussion to consider whether cafés, restaurants and vending machine suppliers bear a responsibility for tackling obesity in the out-of-home sector.
Compass Group's Louise Pilkington will discuss the economic impact of obesity on rising healthcare costs and lower worker productivity due to illness and days off, while Jozef Youssef, the creative force behind gastronomy experience design lab Kitchen Theory, will ask whether diners are ready for tomorrow's foods. Future foods Alongside the conference, a seminar programme will focus on key themes including the future of food retail, food futures, allergy and intolerance, marketing, tackling obesity, and innovating through packaging design.
Experts will use the sessions to consider the latest food technology innovations set to change the face of the industry, how to engage tech-savvy, time-poor customers through voice-activated technology and augmented/virtual reality, and the role of packaging in helping to reduce sugar consumption.
The allergy and intolerance seminars will look at brand trust and why consumers are allergic to certain foods, and the role that the media plays in driving demand for free-from, as well as how to attract food-to-go customers with innovative packaging.
In the future of food seminar, Spar Parkfoot's David Charman will discuss how retailers and foodservice providers can capture a larger share of the growing food-to-go opportunity, while Simply Fresh's Kash Khera will join experts from MMR Research, Graze and Spoon Guru in a buyer panel discussion on consumers of the future, what is important to them and the consequences for purchasing. Clément Scellier will talk about Jimini's success in marketing insect-based foods as a ealthy and sustainable source of nutrition, while Compass Group's Leanne Hewitt will focus on the challenges of providing healthy nutrition in offshore and military workplaces.
More than 16,000 influential professionals are expected to attend this year's Food Matters Live, which will feature more than 800 leading organisations, from food and drink manufacturers, foodservice providers and suppliers to startups, each showcasing the latest developments in food and drink innovation.
With the UK's food-to-go sector set to be worth £23.5b by 2022 - up from £17.4b in 2017, according to IGD - delegates can try, taste and explore a range of products arranged in themed areas including Free-From, Natural & Organic, Drink Well, International Innovation and Innovative Ingredients.
A Healthy Snacking zone features the latest innovations in 'better for you' snack food and confectionery. They include Joseph Heler Cheese, the Boka Food range of healthier snacks (such as low-sugar granola and sugar-free marshmallows), Ready Raw air-dried and raw bagel bites, Pundits' stevia-sweetened dark chocolate, and Gato's dairy/sugar/gluten-free puds in flavours such as chocolate and aubergine fondant with spirulina, and orange and cardamom polenta sponge with turmeric With the market for free-from food having risen by 30% to over £500m in 2016 - and predicted to hit £673m by 2020, according to Mintel - the dedicated zone has doubled in size. It houses the Vegetarian Butcher's fish- free tuna (an addition to pasta sauce or fishcakes), Rachelli's Italian ice-cream and Suma wholefoods.
Visit the Enterprise zone to discover Autumn Brewing Company, which is dedicated to producing high-quality, gluten-free beers and lagers from grains, rice, millet and quinoa. Sample its range of Bavarian-style pilsner, English pale ale and dark roast stout.
For a daytime pick-me-up, try Tea Rex, the world's first raw fruit and root tea, in Wakey Wakey and Berry Time flavours. And for a healthy bite, there's Adonis Smart Foods' low-sugar crunchy vanilla and pecan nut bars and gluten-free brownies - all devised by a former investment banker who struggled to snack at
work and stay in shape.
To find out what influences diners' food choices and to delve into consumer beliefs about provenance, sustainability, menu design and how food is prepared, take a seat at the Experimental Café, which returns to Food Matters Live 2017 in association with Institut Paul Bocuse and Levy Restaurants.
Live demos will give visitors the chance to experience the latest in international cuisine. Brazilian chef Luciana Berry shares the treasures of Amazonian food and drink, and Limabased chef Robert Ortiz highlights the health and nutrition benefits of Peruvian 'superfoods'.
There will be a demonstration of how to use Japanese ingredients in everyday cooking, and nutritionists will show how proteins can help improve athletic performance and recovery.
There will also be insight into the health benefits of Californian walnuts and prunes.
Make a match
A new matchmaking service will give visitors and exhibitors the opportunity to identify potential partners. A dedicated Meet the Buyer programme will connect buyers from retailers and foodservice providers with innovative food and drink companies.
Briony Mansell-Lewis, Food Matters Live director, says: "Food Matters Live is fast becoming an annual business opportunity for many in the industry, providing a platform to explore, taste and experience the latest trends and innovations shaping the future of food and drink. We're delighted once again to welcome so many experts to share best practice, forge collaborative relationships, find solutions to challenges and explore new ways of working with colleagues across the food, nutrition and health sectors."
What, where and how
Food Matters Live
ExCeL, London E16 1XL
•Preview the products that will be on display at www.foodmatterslive.com/visiting/product-and-ingredient-directories
•To book your place on the business matchmaking programme, go to www.b2match.eu/foodmatterslive-match/sign_up
•Go to www.foodmatterslive.com to register